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More On The Recognition Question

The Kremlin's telephone hasn't exactly been ringing off the hook with the world's leaders calling to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia. So far, only one categorical recognition from Chavez, and one "definitely-maybe" from Lukashenka, who said the "Kremlin had no other moral choice" but to recognize the breakaway regions.

In fact, earlier Belarus's ambassador to Russia, Vasil Dauhalyou, had told RIA Novosti that Minsk would soon declare recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. However, a couple of hours later the ambassador apparently asked that the RIA Novosti story be changed to water down the position.

Lukashenka also proposed that the independence issue be mulled over at a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization on September 5, in order to work out a "consolidated position" among the member states (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.)

Lukashenka's caution is understandable. His economy is almost entirely dependent on Russia and the loss of Moscow's economic support, namely cheap gas, could well mean his downfall. But he also has the West to think about, with all the recent talk that the sanctions on his regime could be lifted.

-- Luke Allnutt

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